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The Hamburg Süd Group is a large shipping conglomerate based in Hamburg, Germany. The company was established in 1871 and, today, comprises of several separate business that together offer a broad range of container shipping, tramp shipping and logistics services. The company is ranked among the top 20 providers of container shipping services in the world, and is also a major player in the tramp shipping market, especially along the busy North-South trade routes. Hamburg Süd has a truly global reach with over 300 offices worldwide and a staff of close to 4,500 employees.
A substantial portion of Hamburg Süd’s revenues comes from its container shipping business, which is served by the parent company and by Alianca, a Brazilian shipping company that is fully owned by Hamburg. Together, the two companies operate a fleet of 107 container ships, 43 of which are owned by Hamburg, while the rest are leased. In 2012, Hamburg shipped over 3.5 million twenty foot equivalent (TEU) containers and had a total carrying capacity in excess of 395,000 TEU.
In addition to container shipping, the Hamburg Süd Group is also a major player in the tramp services market. Unlike its container ships, which service specific routes, Hamburg’s tramp services do not follow any specific route. Instead, they are used on an as-needed basis by customers to transport bulk and break-bulk cargo such as fertilizers, coal, bauxite, molasses, vegetable oils, light chemicals, grain, aviation and diesel fuel. Hamburg uses a fleet of 53 leased vessels for its tramp business. The company’s main focus in the tramp business is on relatively small to medium sized shipments. The vessels that Hamburg uses for its tramp service are all relatively small handysize and handymax vessels that are designed to serve smaller ports.
Hamburg also offers a range of logistics services in partnership with Columbus Shipmanagement, another fully-owned subsidiary. The company’s logistics services include everything from technical management and crewing services to materials handling, loading, warehousing and freight forwarding. In recent year, Hamburg has also tried to expand into the passenger shipping space via its travel agency division.
North American Operations
Hamburg Süd has been offering services in North America for the past 50 years. Its North American operations are based out of Miami, and service routes between the US, Canada, South America and Europe. The company is fully compliant with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative. According to a Hamburg Süd Group review in the international Journal of Commerce, the company is currently in merger talks with shipping giant Hapaq-Lloyd.